Aarhus Universitets segl

Non-cheater or taking part in the disciplinary dialogue? The impact of plagiarism software on the development of students' authorial identity

Publikation: KonferencebidragPaperForskningpeer review

  • Tine Wirenfeldt Jensen, Syddansk Universitet
  • ,
  • Gina Bay
  • AU Library, Bartholins Allé
The aim of this paper is to show through which mechanisms a strong focus on plagiarism and the use of plagiarism detection software impacts students' identity construction as writers. Through an analysis of questions posted to a Q&A-function part of an online plagiarism tutorial, we show how 1) students internalize a legal discourse as a framework for their own writing and 2) students lack access to contesting discourses through which to articulate issues connected to learning and ownership of their own writing. We show how these findings can hinder the development of authorial identity and voice (Ivanič,1998), which is key to students becoming part of their disciplinary community. Data consist of 50 questions posted to a Q&A function part of an online plagiarism tutorial in a five-year period. The tutorial was created in collaboration between Danish University libraries. Data were coded thematically using grounded theory methods (Charmaz, 2006) independently by two researchers, and a comparison of the themes informed a discourse analysis of the material (Laclau & Mouffe, 2001.) This paper joins an ongoing critical discussion of the implication of plagiarism software on writing development (Vardi, 2012; Silvey et al., 2016; Zwagerman, 2008), and contributes an empirically grounded mapping of how a strong focus on plagiarism and the use of plagiarism detection software shapes how students articulate questions and issues connected to writing, the discourses available to them for this articulation and their limitations. We show how, paradoxically, a legal discourse as a framework for writing denies students ownership of their own writing, making it very difficult for them to carve out a space to develop their own authorial identity and voice. By offering contesting discourses to those that are limited to producing non-cheaters, writing support practices can play an important role in supporting students negotiating an identity as writers.
StatusUdgivet - 2019
BegivenhedEATAW 2019: Academic writing at intersections – Interdisciplinarity, genre hybridization, multilingualism, digitalization, and interculturality​ ​ - Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sverige
Varighed: 2 jul. 20194 jul. 2019


KonferenceEATAW 2019
LokationChalmers University of Technology

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